Seasonal brownies have a lot of heartWho could resist a...


February 13, 1994|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Seasonal brownies have a lot of heart

Who could resist a request to "Be mine, Valentine" -- if the request is accompanied by heart-shaped Valentine brownies filled with strawberries and whipped topping? Here's the recipe, from Kraft General Foods.

Valentine brownie hearts

Makes 10 to 12 brownies, 5 to 6 servings

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

2 2/3 cups halved strawberries

1 8-ounce tub chocolate non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass baking dish). Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil, extending over edges to form handles. Grease foil.

Microwave chocolate and margarine in large microwaveable +V bowl on high 2 minutes or until margarine is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir sugar into chocolate until well blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts until well-blended. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Do not over-bake. Cool in pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes for easier cutting. Lift brownies out of pan with foil handles. Invert onto back of pan. Carefully remove foil. Invert onto cutting board. Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutter.

Place half of brownies on individual dessert plates. Spoon 1/2 cup of strawberries over each brownie. Top each with 1/3 cup whipped topping. Cover with remaining brownies. Garnish with additional strawberries. Serve immediately. "Love from the Heart of the Home," is the title of a "keepsake" book from Susan Branch. The little book is handwritten and hand-illustrated by the author in a charming, "country" style. It includes quotations, drawings and informational oddities on the subjects of love and food. There are menus with recipes and "recipes" for love potions and spells. The book closes with Amanda McBroom's poem, "Some say love, it is a river . . ." -- best known as the hit song, "The Rose." The book is published by Little, Brown, and costs $10.95 at bookstores everywhere.

Valentine's Day -- and other holidays -- can be hard on folks who are watching their diets. A new recipe leaflet from Sweet 'N Low offers basic vanilla and chocolate cake recipes that are low in sugar and fat, as well as six variations for holidays and special occasions.

For a copy of the leaflet, call the Sweet 'N Low hot line at (800) 221-1763 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

Fifty (almost) ways to love your lover

Psssst, Valentine . . . Have you got it yet, that romantic little surprise that's going to let your dearest one know tomorrow how special he or she really is?

What? You haven't even thought about it? Well, never mind. Tidbits can help. Here's a selection of readily available or easily cookable goodies designed to delight any loved one.

Romance and whimsy, breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed is always a romantic idea. Get your sweetie off to a pampered start with a "heart" tray from Alex & Ivy at Towson Town Center. Tuck in some juice, a muffin and the morning paper. Or, it could be used for a bedtime snack of champagne and chocolates. After Valentine's Day, the tray can be used to hold napkins, silverware or condiments for easy transport. The tray costs $59. The shop, which features country-style furniture, baskets, quilts and bibelots, has been open since last August on the second level of the mall. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Or, for a touch of whimsy, how about a basket full of "Floral" candy? P.S. I Love You offers a wide variety of candy "flowers" and candy bars on stems that can be combined with tiny stuffed animals, hearts and other small items sure to bring a smile. P.S. I Love You owner Peter Bird says his flowers are in some ways better than the real thing. "It lasts more than a couple of days. And when you get tired of looking at it, you can eat it." Prices range from $10 for a simple arrangement up to $100 for an elaborate one. P.S. I Love You has a shop at 1706 Taylor Ave., in Towson, and two seasonal kiosks at Towson Town Center (on Level 3) and White Marsh mall (Level 1). Hours: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at Towson Town and White Marsh; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Towson Town; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at White Marsh; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Taylor Avenue shop.

One sure-fire way for a shy person to say "I love you" is to say, "fudge." If it's Here's my heart fudge from Hershey's, so much the better. Here's the recipe:

Here's my heart fudge

Makes about 8 dozen pieces

L 1 2/3 cups (1 10-ounce package) vanilla milk chips, divided use

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup cocoa, or European-style cocoa

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups sugar

1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme

1 1/2 cups (1 12-ounce can) evaporated milk

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter or margarine

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